Design Thinkers Make the Best Salespeople

Photo by Artotem

Photo by Artotem

A.B.C. Always Be Closing. It is an acronym of the sales industry. It conjures up the image of a sleazy salesman in a suit and tie trying to figure out ways to manipulate you into purchasing a product or service. This was the model of the sales force 10+ years ago when there was information asymmetry between the seller and the buyer. Sales was in a position to have power OVER the buyer. But, post-internet age, everything has changed. Here are the new ABC's of sales: Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity.

Daniel Pink coined the new ABC's in his latest book, To Sell is Human. After reading through the chapter about attunement, it was clear, to me, why design thinkers are wired for sales. In the design thinking process, everything starts with empathy. As designers and researchers, we seek to understand others deeply. Furthermore, skilled design researchers understand the importance of asking short deep questions. They also give up power in their conversations to allow participants to open up to better understand their needs. The best researchers even learn to mimic the posture of interviewees. These are the exact tactics Pink describes as rules of thumb for salespeople on how to build a relationship with others. We are entering a new paradigm of sales, and empathic listeners who can think win-win will be at the forefront of this shift.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think being a good design thinker makes you a good salesperson?

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